skillstx brand green with TAG

Demystifying SFIA: Your Guide to a Skills-Led Approach

I was recently discussing a skills-led approach to talent management with an organization, and had a conversation that went along the lines of:

Me: “You know if you are considering a skills-led approach then check-out SFIA, a framework written in the language of employers.”

HR Person: “Well we don’t really use SFIA, so it’s not really OUR language and also it looks a bit full on, hundreds of descriptions I think”

Me: “I just meant the framework is developed based on reality and what skills are actually out there, so in that sense it’s the language of every employer, whether it’s formally adopted or not”

HR Person: “Ah, that makes sense but still a LOT to learn to get any benefit I bet.”

While jobs have defined how work is done for over a century, organizations are now finding that this approach hinders achieving objectives such as agility, growth, and innovation; diversity, inclusion, to name a few. Add to this, findings that 73% of business executives expect to continue to experience talent shortages over the next three years, and 70% of those respondents say they are getting creative about sourcing for skills rather than just considering job experience.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of information technology, a skills-led approach to talent management is not just beneficial but crucial. The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) is an excellent resource for organizations seeking to shift towards such an approach. However, the sheer volume and complexity of this framework can be daunting. If that sounds familiar, then this article is for you. Let’s dive into SFIA and see how it can be made easy.


SFIA: A Language of Employers

The first thing to understand about SFIA is that it’s written in the language of employers. It’s a reflection of the skills that are in demand in the real world. While you may feel that SFIA isn’t your organization’s language because you’re not currently using it, it is, in fact, a universal dialect that speaks to all employers. The framework encapsulates the skills that are relevant to your organization, whether you’re aware of it or not.


Navigating the SFIA Framework

At first glance, SFIA might seem overwhelming with its hundreds of skill descriptions. However, the framework is organized and structured around categories, making it user-friendly. It comprises 121 skills divided into specific categories and subcategories, making it easier to navigate. For example, if you are defining a development role using a SFIA skills-led approach, you’ll primarily focus on the ‘Development and Implementation’ category.


The Robustness of SFIA

One aspect of SFIA that sets it apart is its robustness. The descriptions within the framework undergo numerous iterations and stringent quality control checks before being updated and published. This ensures that they are easy to understand and highly reliable. Moreover, SFIA is agnostic, meaning it avoids proprietary language that can often be overly specific and inconsistent.


The Advantage of Experience and Best Practices

SFIA can be a powerful tool, and especially effective when applied with the right guidance. If you’re new to the framework, don’t fret. Those who have spent years in the capability development world have a wealth of experience and best practices to share. This knowledge can be your shortcut to harnessing the power of SFIA without having to learn the hard way.


Simplifying SFIA with SkillsTX

Understanding and implementing a skills-led approach with SFIA doesn’t have to be challenging. Our SkillsTX solution brings together all this experience and best practice and simplifies it into an easy 1,2,3 approach. Even with minimal knowledge of the framework, you can successfully adopt a skills-led approach. By following simple processes and recognizing that the language of SFIA is ‘yours,’ you’ll find it surprisingly easy to implement.


Evaluate Your Organization’s Digital Skills Maturity

Now that you have a basic understanding of SFIA and how to apply it, it’s time to assess your organization’s digital skills maturity. Our 15 minute Digital Skills Management Maturity Assessment will provide you with insights into where your organization stands and what areas need improvement.

For more hands-on experience and to see SFIA in action, dive in and watch our demos. These will provide you with a practical understanding of how to use the framework effectively.

SFIA is a comprehensive and powerful tool for organizations looking to adopt a skills-led approach. While it may seem daunting at first, it’s important to remember that the framework was designed to be practical and applicable to all types of organizations. By breaking down the framework, learning from experienced practitioners, and leveraging tools like SkillsTX, SFIA can become a straightforward and effective tool in your talent management arsenal.

Ready to take your next steps towards learning about SFIA? We can help.